SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Below is a selection of interesting and/or instructive positions from games played at the 2011 FIDE Women’s World Team Championship currently taking place in Turkey. In some cases I ask for the reader to try to guess a move, in which case the answers are given below. Some are easier than the others. Good luck!
Position after 30 moves. How does White break into Black’s heavily guarded King position?
Position after 28 moves. Black had just played 28…Rd5, hoping for 29.RxR BxR when Black can still defend despite the pawn deficit. INSTEAD, what surprise awaited Black on the 29th move?
Position after 18 moves. This is a nice example of a sustained attack. Black has misplayed the opening and has not succeeded in developing his Queenside. With a series of powerful blows the Russian champion goes in for the kill…19. Bh3! Qd8
Certainly not 19… Qxh3? 20. Re8-ch Kf7 21. Rxb8! Rxb8 22. Ng5! etc 20. d6!?
Good enough, but the most precise is the immediate 20. Be6-ch! Kf8? (20… Kh8! 21. Bf7 Na6 22. Nh4!! (threatening mate with Ng6-ch ) 22…g5 23. Re8 Kg7 24. Qg4! and Black can not hold out for long) 21. Ng5 etc.
20… Nc6 21. d7! this pawn is a real hero! 21… Qf8
Black is tied hand and foot!
22. Qc7! Na5 23. Be6-ch Kh8 24. Bf7!! Bc6 25. Re8! [1:0]
Black loses atleast a piece.
Position after 22 moves. White’s position is not pretty, but he can still fight with 23.Qe2. INSTEAD, White played 23.Nc4?? (threatening the Black d-pawn). What did White overlook?
Position after 24 moves. Ofcourse, everything has gone wrong in Black’s game so far and she could resign with a clear conscience. But I very much like the way the game ends:
25.Qg7 (threatening mate in 1) 25…Kd8 (as good as any) 26. Qf8-ch Be8 27.Ne6-ch mate!!
If that is not an excellent example of how to put to effective use your only open file, then I don’t know what is!
Position after 23 moves. White has an obvious positional advantage. The Black Knight is (temporarily) out of play and the Black King has voluntarily dismissed his pawn cover, leaving his majesty vulnerable and insecure.
The question is what is White’s best continuation? Hint: The natural 24.Bd3 fails to impress after the surprising 24…Bxe4! 25.BxB RxR-ch and 26…Qg5, when Black can put up strong resistance.
”To sac or not to sac…that is the question.” Bob.Shakespeare (Plus, when should I sac? And while I am at it, where? )
Position after 40 moves. A long boring manoeuvring game for the most part. Finally, however, White has managed to align all of his pieces towards the Black King. And I mean all of White’s pieces! Here the simplest way to win is 41.Nxh7 and after 41…Nxh7 42.e6! f6 (what else?) 43.Rxf6! and the curtains drops.)
However, Humpy (what a name!) rushed things with the brilliant lemon 41.Qxh6!!??. It worked after the submissive 41…pxQ?? 42.e6 f6 43.Rxf6 Kg8 44.Nf7 when Black resigned.
HOWEVER, at move 41, what chance did Black miss to save herself?
Position after 24 moves. White has the centre and his pieces are very active (to say the least). The brilliant 25.Rxg7 ? is tempting bate, but –remarkably–does not give the desired result if Black simply takes the Bishop! So, INSTEAD, how did White really put her considerable advantage to good use?
Example1: 31.Bxf7! leaving the King totally defenceless. If 31…RxB 32.Qh8-ch! wins the Black Queen.
Example2: 29.Nxe6-ch! with a winning attack. The game ended 29…PxN 30.Qxg6-ch Kf8 31.RxR 31…Rd7 32.Qf6-ch Rf7 33.Rh8-mate!
Example 4: 23…Nc8! The White Queen is trapped (!) and can only escape at the price of a piece.
Example 6: White played the strong positional exchange sacrifice 24.Rxf5! , gaining control of the diagonals. There followed 24…RxR 25.Bd3!? ( postmortem showed that 25.Bg4! Rf8 26.Bf5! is even stronger, with a clear edge.) 25…Rf7 26.Qh5 Qe8? 27.Bh4!! and now White simply has a winning attack. Black can not win the White Queen because of a later Nf6-ch. White won quickly.
Example 7: 41…Qc5-ch! (not quite patzer sees check:patzer gives check) 42.Kh1 Qxc4! hitting the Rook on f1, when White’s attack is not worth more than a draw, as later analysis convincingly demonstrated!
Example 8: White crashed thru with the precise 25.R1-f6!! after 25…gxf6 (25…Qxe4 gets mated in 12 moves (!) after 26.Rxh6-ch!) 26.Bxf6-ch Black found nothing better than taking the Bishop and was dead lost. White won easily enough….